PRESS RELEASE: Tampa’s Chief Judge Signs Administrative Order on Collaborative Divorce

“They call it Collaborative Divorce.  It’s apparently all the rage right now.”  Jason Bateman’s character spoke these lines in the 2007 hit Juno, and now the practice has come to Tampa.

On July 31, 2012, Chief Judge Manuel Menendez, Jr., of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida signed an administrative order regulating collaborative family law practice in Hillsborough County.  The administrative order is just the fourth such order in the State of Florida.  The other circuits regulated by a collaborative family law administrative order are the Ninth Circuit (Orlando and Osceola Counties), the Eleventh Circuit (Miami-Dade County), and the Eighteenth Circuit (Brevard County).

According to Attorney Adam B. Cordover, “Hillsborough County’s collaborative law administrative order will bring more public awareness and certainty to this new and revolutionary form of family law practice.” Adam is a member of the task force that drafted and proposed the order and is also on the Executive Board of the Collaborative Divorce Institute of Tampa Bay, which promotes collaborative practice for divorce and all other types of family law matters.

Collaborative practice (which is variously referred to as collaborative divorce, collaborative law, collaborative model, or collaborative process) is a relatively new form of alternative dispute resolution which takes divorce and other family law cases out of the public courtroom and into a private office.

Each party hires a collaboratively trained attorney and agrees from the very beginning to resolve personal and financial disputes without having a judge decide the outcome.

A neutral facilitator (who is often a trained mediator, psychologist, or other licensed mental health professional) is brought on board to ensure that discussions focus on the future of the family unit rather than the arguments of the past.  Additionally, the facilitator will ensure that discussions center around the interests of the parties (for example, “our child should go to a good school”) rather than on positions of the parties (for example, “our child must go to this particular school, or else…”).

A neutral accountant or other financial advisor may be brought on board when there are homes, businesses, mutual funds, or other assets that need to be divided.  The financial advisor will also come up with creative solutions for debt division, child support, and ongoing needs of the spouses.

According to financial professional David Harper, CPA, ABV, PFS, CFF, CBA, “Studies show that financial disputes are consistently the number one reason for divorce.  The collaborative divorce process promotes the honest exchange of all pertinent financial information so that each spouse has a comprehensive understanding of the financial aspects involved.  Because of this, the collaborative process often results in a settlement involving less money, less time, and less of an emotional toll on the spouses and their children than the traditional litigation process.”  Harper is an Executive Board member of the Collaborative Divorce Institute of Tampa Bay and devotes nearly his entire practice to providing sound financial advice to families in the midst of divorce.

Collaborative practice has been gaining steam as a more sensible approach to divorce, and even celebrities are catching on.  Famous individuals who have utilized the collaborative process include Madonna, Robin Williams, and Cameron Crowe.

One of the lynchpins of collaborative practice is that, if the parties are unable to settle their differences and insist on going to court, their attorneys must withdraw, and new counsel may be retained.  Attorney Beth Reineke believes “This means divorcing parties are more committed to the settlement process and less likely to choose litigation if the road gets bumpy during negotiations.”  Reineke is a board certified emeritus family lawyer who has chosen not to litigate.  As president of the Collaborative Divorce Institute of Tampa Bay, she either mediates with couples pre-suit or collaborates with the clients she represents.

More information on collaborative family law practice can be obtained from the Collaborative Divorce Institute’s website at

About Adam B. Cordover, Attorney-at-Law

Family Diplomacy is dedicated to helping clients restructure their families privately and respectfully. We practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services. We maintain this out-of-court practice because we strongly believe that family disputes should be resolved in a private conference room, not in a hostile and public courtroom environment. This unique perspective on family law stems back to Adam B. Cordover’s experience studying International Affairs in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Adam had the rare opportunity to work closely with ambassadors and diplomats from war-torn regions around the world. He traveled around the globe, learning from diplomatic leaders as they applied dispute resolution techniques to tackle seemingly impossible conflicts. It dawned on him: If these techniques can work in the complex world of International Relations, why not Domestic Relations and Family Law? This realization lead Adam to create an exclusively out-of-court practice and to bring a more peacemaking approach to family law. In his previous role as a litigation attorney, Adam witnessed parties experience the negative emotional and financial effects that long, drawn out divorce battles can have on families. As a result, Adam has become a strong proponent of the Collaborative Process, where a structure is put in place so that life’s hardest moments do not have to be any more difficult than necessary. A thought leader in the international collaborative law community, Adam successfully spearheaded an effort of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit to draft an administrative order safeguarding the principles of collaborative family law (just the fourth such administrative order in Florida). Adam has been featured in or interviewed about collaborative practice by the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida Bar News, NBC, Fox 13, Bay News 9, ABC Action News, The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine, and Spirit FM 90.5. Adam regularly speaks at professional and civic organizations locally and internationally regarding the collaborative process. Adam B. Cordover is president of Next Generation Divorce, a 501(c)(3) and Florida’s largest interdisciplinary collaborative practice group with member attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. Adam is also on the Executive Board and co-chair of the Research Committee of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida. Further, Adam is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. You can learn more about us and our services at Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.
This entry was posted in Administrative Orders, Collaborative Divorce, Family Law Explanation, Family Law News and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to PRESS RELEASE: Tampa’s Chief Judge Signs Administrative Order on Collaborative Divorce

  1. Shawn Weber says:

    Reblogged this on Brave, Weber & Mack, APLC and commented:
    I stumbled across this discussion about a Judge in Tampa, who signed an adminstrative order on Collaborative Divorce. I am always pleased when more and more Judicial officers become aware of and even endorse Collaborative Practice. I view this as real progress.

  2. Pingback: ABC Family Law Blog > Tampa’s Chief Judge Signs Administrative Order on Collaborative Divorce | ABC Collaborative Divorce Blog

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